Democrats Billy Maddalon and John Autry debated Tuesday night, making the case for why they are the best choice to occupy the open N.C. House District 100 seat, vacated by Tricia Cotham. Maddalon, who is a businessman and former Charlotte City Council member, would become the only current openly gay member of the N.C. House if elected.
Autry, a current member of City Council, has been a strong supporter of the LGBT community. He voted for the full LGBT non-discrimination ordinance last year and was against a compromise that would have exempted restrooms, locker rooms, showers and changing rooms from public accommodations.
Maddalon highlighted that this would be a “unique opportunity” for North Carolina, saying being a member of the LGBT community would allow him to bring a different perspective, The Charlotte Observer reports.
Autry leaned on his experience in municipal government.
“I wonder if there is enough experience in the General Assembly with those who have served in municipal government,” Autry said. “Their actions aren’t in the best interest of cities and counties.”
Maddalon also brought up his small business credentials, and stated that job creation as well as education were the two most important issues.
Both candidates said that they feel the legislature exercises too much control over cities such as Charlotte, and pledged support for a living wage for the state. Income inequality and raising the minimum wage have become big progressive issues over the past few years.
Democrats, especially those in the LGBT community, will likely find this election to pose a tough choice. This debate may help shape some people’s still forming opinions on who would best represent them in the N.C. House.
It will be televised on PBS Charlotte, as part of the WTVI/League of Women Voters debates, on Sunday, Feb. 21, from 2-5:30 p.m.